Trump sparks debate after telling officials to do 'more raking and cleaning' to prevent wildfires
After the strong wildfires that hit California, President Donald Trump went to Paradise, CA to talk about them. He said that raking and cleaning the floors of the forest could help.
In the interview, Trump said that he hoped this round of wildfires was the last one because “it was a bad one.” He admitted to being committed to cleaning and protecting the forest. Later, Trump said:
“You gotta take care of the floors. You know? The floors of the forest. Very important … I was with the president of Finland, and he said, ‘We have a much different — we're a forest nation.’ He called it a forest nation, and they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don't have any problem.”
So far, 79 people have been reported dead, and more than 600 are still missing. While some people considered that what Trump said made sense and that he did it to help, others considered that just saying that “raking and cleaning” was the best alternative was somehow disrespectful to all the victims who died and for those who lost their houses after the fires.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö says that although President Trump claimed the European leader told him Finns rarely have forest fires because they "spend a lot of time raking," he doesn't recall discussing that with Trump when they met in Paris https://t.co/s1FrA3CnRJ pic.twitter.com/uMdZid1W04— CNN (@CNN) November 19, 2018
As soon as POTUS made his statement, several people took to Twitter to make fun of his remarks.
YOU GOTTA TAKE CARE OF THE FLOORS! SPEND A LOT OF TIME RAKING AND CLEANING AND DOING THINGS OR WE'LL ALL BE ON FIRE pic.twitter.com/2fbsUNMChE— HappyToast ★ (@IamHappyToast) November 17, 2018
Some of them wondered the kind of “cleaning product” they should use to clean the forest floors. Others were surprised by the fact that the people surrounding Trump kept straight faces during his speech.
Greetings from #Finland! Just finished raking leaves here.#RakeAmericaGreatAgain #RakeTheForest #Trump #SundayFunday #SundayMorning #rakenews #CaliforniaWildFires #ClimateChange #haravointi #metsänhoito #ilmastonmuutos #Suomi pic.twitter.com/vqD99kmUgj— Kristiina Vahvaselkä (@TravelWithXtina) November 18, 2018
FINNISH PEOPLE SHARED THEIR THOUGHTS
Even people from Finland joined the conversation sharing photos of their woods and saying that they finished raking leaves. One of the most striking hashtags that has been shared ever since is “Rake America Great Again,” making fun of Trump’s presidential campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”
Just an ordinary day in the Finnish forest ~ Ihan normipäivä suomalaisessa metsässä #Trump #forest #firesafety #raking #forestry #Finland #Finnish #CaliforniaFire #RakingAmericaGreatAgain #rakingtheforest #Suomi #haravointi #metsäpalot #rakingleaves pic.twitter.com/YOKA3D6C2K— Pyry Luminen (@pyryluminen) November 18, 2018
One of the photos that has attracted more attention shows the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, sitting next to Trump. Someone photoshopped a rake in his hands and the caption, “We offer aid.”
“[Niinistö] called it a forest nation, and they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don't have any problem.”
The president thinks raking and cleaning floors of the forests will prevent wildfires. Just take that in... https://t.co/WyMkCY72LJ— HawaiiDelilah™ (@HawaiiDelilah) November 17, 2018
FINNISH DEFENSE RESEARCHER’S THOUGHTS
Veli-Pekka Kivimäki, a Finnish Defense Researcher, also took his time to tweet about Trump’s remarks saying that he wouldn’t compare California and Finland climate-wise. “And besides, 80% of the country is classified as forest land. We don’t exactly manicure all of it.”
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE WILDFIRES
Authorities believe that there are several reasons why so many people died during the fires. The speed of the flames, the howling winds, and the drought-desiccated scrub and trees that fueled them.
Nowadays it is still not clear what caused the massive incident. However, two electric companies said they sustained equipment problems close to the origins of the flames when they were first reported, so that is probably how it all began.